Problem gambling can start young; really young. In fact, 39.5% of youth age 12-17 have gambled this past year, and 30% of these youth state that they began gambling at age 10 or younger. The earlier a child starts gambling, the more likely they are to have problems due to gambling.
Today, the explosion of internet gambling and gaming opportunities — plus the inescapable advertising and marketing of gaming and gambling everywhere from television to the corner store — relentlessly expose our children to enticing messages of winning, risk-taking and excitement from a very early age. The line between gambling and gaming is getting blurrier every day.
Sure, your child could be playing some silly game on their phone, tablet or gaming system just for fun. But, they could also be gambling with in-game items or real money.
Young people who become problem gamblers also have higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, violent and criminal acts, mental illness, and school and family problems.
One simple, effective way is just to talk with your kids about gaming and gambling, even if they’re as young as six years old. Children whose parents talk with them about gambling are less likely to develop a problem.
So how do you actually go about having a talk with your child?